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Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania

ILC sponsors capacity building conference in Tanzania

Participants listen to a speaker during the ELCT-LTD’s capacity building conference in Sumbawanga, Tanzania.

TANZANIA – The International Lutheran Council (ILC) sponsored a capacity building conference for pastors, evangelists, and teachers of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania’s Lake Tanganyika Diocese (ELCT-LTD) in Sumbawanga from March 7-10, 2023.

The conference arose out of an official request from the diocese and Bishop Ambele Mwaipopo.

“It was a joy to visit Bishop Mwaipopo and his diocese in Tanzania,” said ILC General Secretary Timothy Quill. “Events like these play a significant role in ensuring strong Lutheran formation for pastors and church workers, and we were pleased to be able to respond to the ELCT-LTD’s request for assistance in this area.”

The conference brought together nearly 90 people, including more than 40 pastors and nine evangelists, as well as theologians, members of the diocese’s executive council, and staff from the diocesan headquarters. Guest lecturers for the event included ILC General Secretary Quill; Rev. Dr. Detlev Schulz (Concordia Theological Seminary – Fort Wayne, Indiana); and Rev. Peter Brock (First Vice President of the Indiana District of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod).

Participants at a capacity building conference in Tanzania’s Lake Tanganyika Diocese. ILC General Secretary Timothy Quill sits in front (second from left) with ELCT-LTD Bishop Ambele Mwaipopo (centre).

The Lake Tanganyika Diocese has a great focus on mission. Last year, it opened 18 new preaching points, eleven of which have since grown into parishes or congregations. Additional preaching points continue to be opened every year.

To assist with this growth, the diocese is in the process of opening a new school, which will initially train evangelists and eventually grow to offer pastoral training. Indeed, the diocese sees pastoral training as its greatest need. The school will also educate lay people in vocations and trades, including as teachers and deaconesses.

The Lake Tanganyika Diocese holds membership in the International Lutheran Council as a recognized organization. The ILC has previously supported theological conferences in the ELCT-LTD’s sister diocese, the South East of Lake Victoria Diocese.

The International Lutheran Council is a global association of Lutheran church bodies, dedicated to proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ on the basis of a shared-commitment to the authority of Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions.


New District Bishop Elected for SELVD in Tanzania

ELCT-SEVLD Bishop Elect Yohana Ernest Nzelu.

TANZANIA – The South East of Lake Victoria Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania (ELCT-SELVD) held its General Assembly from December 9-10, 2022 at its Tumani Bariadi congregation, during which time the district elected a new bishop: Rev. Dr. Yohana Ernest Nzelu

“I congratulate Dr. Nzelu on his election as bishop,” said Rev. Dr. Timothy Quill, General Secretary of the International Lutheran Council (ILC). “It’s been a joy to see our relationship with the ELCT-SELVD grow over the past number of years, and we look forward to continued cooperation in the future. May God bless Dr. Nzelu with every good thing in Christ as he begins this new work on behalf of the South of East Victoria Diocese.”

Bishop Elect Nzelu was elected to a ten-year term. Prior to the election, he served the ELCT-SELVD as Assistant to the Bishop. Ordained fifteen years ago, he also served as a District Pastor for eight years and as headmaster at Mwadui Lutheran Secondary School for ten years. He earned his doctorate from Concordia Theological Seminary (Fort Wayne, Indiana) in 2021.

ELCT-SEVLD Bishop Elect Yohana Ernest Nzelu.

Bishop Elect Nzelu succeeds Bishop Emmanuel Joseph Makala, who was the ELCT-SELVD’s first bishop.

Also elected was Rev. Dr. Daniel Henry Mono, who will serve as Assistant to the Bishop for a four-year term. Dr. Mono previously served as District Pastor at Kahama.

“I am so excited about having them both on board,” noted outgoing ELCT-SELVD Bishop Makala. “The new leadership have years of experience and have clearly demonstrated their essential skills in leadership positions.”

The consecration of Bishop Elect Nzelu and the installation of Dr. Mono as Assistant to the Bishop will take place on April 30, 2023 at Ebenezer Cathedral in Shinyanga.

The ELCT-SELVD holds membership as a recognized organization in the International Lutheran Council, a global association of confessional Lutheran churches.


New Presiding Bishop for Tanzanian Lutherans

Outgoing Presiding Bishop Alex Malasusa waves with Bishop Elect Frederick Shoo after the latter’s election to serve as head of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania.

Outgoing Presiding Bishop Alex Malasusa waves with Bishop Elect Frederick Shoo after the latter’s election to serve as head of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania.

TANZANIA – On August 16, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT) elected a new Presiding Bishop at its 19th Church Assembly at Makumira University near Arusha. Rev. Dr. Frederick Onael Shoo was elected to a four-year term as head of the ELCT.

Prior to his election, Bishop Elect Shoo served as bishop of the ELCT’s Northern Diocese. He earned the moniker “the tree bishop” due to his work planting trees to help preserve the shrinking glaciers of Kilimanjaro. PBS featured this work in a 2012 report. Bishop Shoo was first ordained for pastoral ministry in 1986.

Bishop Shoo succeeds Bishop Alex Gehaz Malalusa, who has retired after completing two four-year terms as head of the ELCT.

The ELCT is the world’s second largest Lutheran church body, with a growing membership of more than 6.5 million members as of 2014. The church body is affiliated with the Lutheran World Federation. A number of the ELCT’s bishops have in recent years also developed friendly relations with The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS), a member church of the International Lutheran Council.

One such area of cooperation has been the ELCT’s Bishop Emmanuel Makala Training Center in northern Tanzania. The Center has been a joint venture of the ELCT’s South-East of Lake Victoria Diocese and the LCMS, with the LCMS providing financial support for the training program as well as providing theological professors. That partnership culminated in March with the first graduating class of the Center, as 21 new pastoral candidates were ordained and seven deaconesses commissioned for service in the ELCT.


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